Working in Toronto




Working in Toronto is a dream-come-true for many expats since it is the home of the country’s largest companies and is a front-runner when it comes to business and finance. It also serves as the headquarters of over 100 foreign embassies and brags ten leading sectors that make up its dynamic economy. 

Landing a job in Toronto is already considered as a major success to foreign assignees because the city has an outstanding reputation when it comes to providing prosperous employment opportunities. In 2016, Toronto outranked Boston and San Francisco as the third best technological hub in the world whereas employees enjoy corporate success and a fun lifestyle. Canada’s capital for commerce and finance is indeed characterised by a fast paced and highly competitive work environment where expats will surely have a chance for a better future. 

Toronto: Land of Promising Careers 

Finance and banking are two of the strongest forces behind Toronto’s goliath economy. Expats that have expertise in these fields will be glad to know they have an opportunity to work for the major banks in Canada that are headquartered in this city. The Big Five or the five largest banking institutions in Canada are the Royal Bank of Canada (Banque Royale du Canada), Toronto-Dominion Bank (Banque Toronto-Dominion), Bank of Nova Scotia (Banque de Nouvelle-Écosse), and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (Banque Canadienne Impériale de Commerce).

Generally speaking, Toronto has an employment rate of 39.1%, and expats will find that it is a bonus to have highly developed skills as more job opportunities will be available, especially in the developed sectors. Major job providers include the services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, communication & utilities and construction sectors. There are also many opportunities for teachers since there is a current demand in Toronto's education sector. 

Average Salary and Work Schedule 

Salaries in Toronto vary depending on one’s professional experience and line of work. But generally speaking, the minimum wage per hour across all employees in the country is CAD 25.46 or USD 19.33 while the general minimum wage in Ontario as of October 2016 is CAD 11.40 or USD 8.65 

According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, employees in Toronto can only be required to work for a maximum of eight hours a day or 40 hours per week. It can only be exceeded if there is a contract signed by both the company and the employee. Any worker should not work continuously for five hours without being entitled to a minimum of 30-minute lunch break (free from work). The half hour break can also be split into two and taken with an interval of five hours each if there is a written and signed agreement between the employer and employee. 

Any excess work rendered after eight hours shall be paid 1 ½ times of the worker’s daily rate. By law, overtime pay can not be earned on a daily basis and the hours must be computed weekly unless there is a contract signed by the employee stating otherwise. 

Public Holidays 

Here is the list of all the holidays being observed in Toronto: 

January 1

New Year’s Day

February 15

Family Day

March 25

Good Friday

March 28

Easter Monday

May 23

Victoria Day

July 1

Canada Day

August 1

Simcoe Day (Civic Holiday)

September 5

Labour Day

October 10

Thanksgiving Day

November 11

Remembrance Day

December 25

Christmas Day

December 26

Boxing Day

Everyone’s Rights Matter 

Discrimination is strictly prohibited in all companies and businesses in Toronto. An employer can not refuse an applicant based on his/her gender, race, sexual orientation, marital status and religious background. The city implements equal opportunity in its employment sector and any act that implies discrimination such as offensive or racist comments are considered harassment which is against the law. Though there have been no serious cases of discrimination that resulted in violence, employees in Toronto are advised to talk to their employers, immediate supervisors or the Canadian Human Rights Commission if they experience any form of harassment. 

Understanding Toronto’s Business Culture 

As Canada's centre for business activity, business should be conducted in an open and direct fashion. Promptness is vital. Always be punctual for appointments. Confirm and follow up deals in writing or through the phone. Business colleagues usually make use of first names when doing business but for first-time introductions always use the person's title and full name and stand up when shaking hands. Casual conversations start before getting down to business. Exchange of business cards is done before or after the meeting. 

Be confident in a natural and reserved way. Do not brag or oversell as one may not sound credible. Torontonians are not demonstrative and privacy is considered as a cultural norm. Dressing for business is favoured by Torontonians especially in the banking profession and technology sector where the usual attire is smart casual. On Fridays, many locals can be seen dressed down. 

Be careful when giving gifts like that can be seen as a form of bribery. Torontonians are not used to gifts or bribery. However, it can be acceptable when closing a deal or celebrating a contract. When doing business in Toronto, remember that smoking is banned. All workplaces prohibit smoking, even from a certain distance from the office buildings.



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